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Issue 327 – Tesco developers close in on Saxonvale site?

AN urgent meeting was called last week by members of the Saxonvale campaign group who received information that Tesco developers could be entering into a contract with property agent Kings Sturge, owners of a sizeable share of the Saxonvale site.

The group believe that St James Investments (SJI) who are Tesco’s preferred site developer are due to enter a contract with Notts Industry Pension Fund, represented by Kings Sturge. The urgent meeting, which took place on Monday the 16th, was called to inform the Saxonvale group of this development.
The site was also discussed by the newly formed Frome Town Council at the Annual Town Council Meeting on Wednesday the 18th of May.
Frome Town Council recognise the site to be of significant importance in the redevelopment of the entire Saxonvale area. They say that the town council should be a “major player” in any redevelopment of the Saxonvale site.
The town council has also expressed regret that the South West Regional Development Agency has not included the town council in any correspondence relating to the site.
At the meeting on Wednesday 18th May the town council resolved to “immediately open negotiations with SWRDA” and make every effort to understand the current situation with the Saxonvale site.
The future of the Saxonvale site has been a topic of much discussion since it was revealed that developers St James Investments (SJI) are proposing a supermarket of approximately 40,000 square feet and potentially another 40,000 square feet of additional retail space on the site.
A significant “No” campaign has built up in response while there are residents who cite benefits a supermarket could bring to the town centre.
Opponents say a Tesco in Frome will mean the town could lose its unique quality and would threaten the small independent businesses which give the town its character.
Guardian journalist and Frome resident, John Harris, said, “This town is different, it isn’t what you call a ‘clone town’, it has a lot of independent shops and businesses and all that contributes to a really creative imaginative atmosphere. It strikes me that if a development of the kind we are talking about comes to Frome, all that will be under dire threat.”